70 Directors for Venice 70
Born in Palo Alto, California, in 1978. He studied English literature, creative writing, film directing and acting in various schools and universities, finally earning his Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University in 2011. His artistic endeavours are as varied as the roles he has taken on in films. He made his debut on the screen in 1999 in the comedy Never Been Kissed, and began to earn audience recognition with his co-starring role in the TV series Freaks and Geeks. In 2001, he starred as James Dean in the biopic about the actor, directed by Mark Rydell. He became famous in 2002 in his role as Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (he returned to the role in the two sequels made in 2004 and 2007). Franco has also worked with Robert Altman (The Company, 2003), Neil LaBute (The Wicker Man, 2006), Paul Haggis (In the Valley of Elah, 2007), Gus Van Sant (Milk, 2008). In 2011 earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his role in the film 127 Hours by Danny Boyle. In 2013 he played Hugh Hefner in Lovelace by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, and the Wizard of Oz in Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great and Powerful. Apart from his career as an actor, in 2005 he began to direct films: he made his debut with the feature-length film Fool’s Gold, and has since directed almost twenty films including short films, features and documentaries screened at top international film festivals including Sundance, Cannes and Berlin, where his short film The Feast of Stephen won the Teddy Award. As both actor and director of Sal, in 2011 he participated in the Venice Film Festival for the first time, in the Orizzonti section. In 2012 he returned with two films: Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine, presented in the official Competition, and The Iceman by Ariel Vroman, out of Competition. In 2013, he participated with Interior.Leather Bar in the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, and with As I Lay Dying at the Cannes Film Festival. His latest film Child of God will be screened in Competition at the 70th Venice International Film Festival. Franco is also a painter: his art has been shown internationally in cities such as New York and Berlin.